Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CSA Member Spotlight: Shannon

The Market often shares the stories of the hardworking and inspiring farmers behind our CSA program; however, this summer we are going to put a little spin on things.

Throughout the summer, we are going to introduce some of our CSA members, who are going to explain why they have chosen to support local farmers through our CSA program.

Today, we introduce you to Shannon. Shannon is a summer volunteer at the Market and a CSA member with Les Jardins de la RĂ©sistance. She says:

"I signed up for a community-supported agriculture basket because I really love summer produce and wanted to support local farmers."

Let us know why you signed up by contacting Monica at mcgillfarmersmarket@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Preserving the Harvest: Fresh Herbs



Since early July, our community-supported agriculture baskets have featured generous bunches of fresh herbs, such as parsley, coriander, and basil. Garden-fresh herbs can add wonderful flavour to your favourite dishes and with proper storage and preservation, can be used all-year long. In this first blog post of our summer series, Preserving the Harvest, we share a few tips for storing and preserving fresh herbs. 

Storing Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are a great addition to your meals but need to be used right away as they have a very short shelf life. With proper storage however, the shelf life of herbs can be extended a few days. To preserve soft herbs such as basil, parsley, and coriander, snip the bases of the stems and put the bunch in a glass of water. Cover herbs with a plastic bag and place the glass in the refrigerator  Herbs with harder stems, such as sage and tarragon, should first be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then plastic wrap, before storing in the refrigerator. 

Drying Herbs

An easy and effective way to preserve your summer herbs for the colder days ahead is by drying them. Homemade dried herbs will remain fragrant for six to twelve months. The two methods for drying herbs that we recommend are air drying and oven drying.

  • Air Drying: Brush the leaves to remove any dirt or gently wash them, making sure to dry them thoroughly. Using a rubber band, tie the stems of the herbs herbs together and hang the herbs upside-down in a dark, warm, and well-ventilated place. The herbs should be hung away from sunlight or covered with a paper bag. Leave the herbs to dry for one to four weeks and then store in an airtight container for up to a year.
  • Oven Drying: To dry herbs more quickly, spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dry the herbs until crumbly in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for one to four hours, checking them frequently. Store in an airtight container for up to a year.

In addition to air and oven drying, fresh herbs can easily be frozen by stripping the leaves off the stems and spreading out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Once they are frozen, place the leaves in a freezer bag. 

How do you preserve fresh herbs? Share your methods with us below, in the comments section!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CSA Member Spotlight: Corey

The Market often shares the stories of the hardworking and inspiring farmers behind our CSA program; however, this summer we are going to put a little spin on things.

Throughout the summer, we are going to introduce some of our CSA members, who are going to explain why they have chosen to support local farmers through our CSA program.

In this first addition, meet Corey, who tells us why he signed up for a CSA basket:

"I signed up for a community-supported agriculture basket because I am super into food and cooking. Normally, I go to a store to buy food that I want to use in a meal but now I will have to force myself to make meals based off of what is seasonal and fresh. I also want to better understand where my food comes and support student agriculture."

Let us know why you signed up by contacting Monica at mcgillfarmersmarket@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Meet Your Student Farmers

The MacDonald Student-run Ecological Gardens (MSEG) is a project initiated and run by students, with the cooperation of McGill professors and staff, local organic crop producers, and student volunteers. The project aims to create a structure for self-sustaining, sustainable student-run agriculture, while bridging the gaps between academia, our local community, and our shared environment.

Recently, garden volunteer and photographer extraordinaire Mahnoor Malik caught up with some of the incredible student farmers at MSEG. It is our pleasure to introduce you to two of these farmers below:




Anna Lyon, Farm Manager

Why do you farm? I farm because I love to spend my days active and outdoors. It's rewarding to work with great people towards a common goal, and it's a good feeling seeing the literal fruits of your labour and selling it to happy customers.

What's your favorite harvest vegetable? The wonky shaped carrots.

What's your favourite part of farming? 

My favourite thing about farming is that no two days are ever the same.




Matthew McCormick, Farm Manager

Why do you farm? 
For the sweet suntan. 

What's your favourite harvest vegetable? Kohlrabi - weirdest looking, tastiest veg. 

What's your favourite part of farming? 
Spending everyday in the field with my best pals, solving new challenges with limited resources, sharing the food we grow with grateful customers!

The McGill Farmers' Market is lucky to have the MacDonald Student-Run Ecological Gardens as one of our vendors and vegetable basket suppliers. For the first time, they will also be joining us at our summer basket distribution beginning on Thursday, July 7 to sell their fresh organic vegetables. 

Photos and interviews featured in this blog post are curtesy of Mahnoor Malik. See more of her photography on Facebook or on her website

Monday, June 27, 2016

Call for Website Development Volunteer



The McGill Farmers Market Team is looking for a dedicated volunteer who can help us create a clean and vibrant new website for the Market. If you have strong computer and organizational skills, and are attentive to detail, we would love to hear from you. 

If you have other creative skills that you would like to share with the Market this season, please do not hesitate to get in touch as well. If you are looking to volunteer regularly at the Farmers' Market this summer or fall, please fill out our online volunteer form

If you'd like to help out, please email Monica

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Fresh Faces of the McGill Farmers' Market

The summer season is just around the corner and our new team of coordinators is working hard to ensure the vibrancy and resilience of the Market this season. This year, we hope to expand our outreach efforts and creatively address issues of sustainability, while building and nourishing our community. Given their passion and drive, the 2016-2017 team of coordinators - Amelia, Chelsea, Keah, and Monica - are certainly apt to the task at hand.


Co-Coordinator: Amelia Peres

    Amelia is a U3 honours geography student, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a focus on food security and climate change adaptation. She loves the market for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and loves how it facilitates new connections through the shared passion of the sustainable food community at McGill. She loves meeting new people, and is always excited to discuss potential project collaborations. 

Co-Coordinator: Chelsea Kingzett 

Chelsea Kingzett likes food. More specifically food systems and promoting self-efficient sustainable food systems within her school community. She's a fourth year Environment student who loves the intersections between sustainability and eating. She hopes to bring innovative new ideas and events to the market this year while tending the CSA basket program and maintaining a balanced and cohesive market dynamic. Look out for her at the market and say hi! Let the harvest season begin.

Finance Coordinator: Keah Hansen

Keah Hansen is a U3 English Literature and Political Science student from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her passions for social, environmental, and economic sustainability are combined in her position as Finance Coordinator for the  Market. She is excited to have the opportunity to facilitate connections within the sustainable food community at McGill and learn the ropes of managing the finances of a farmers' market. When she isn't studying or working, Keah can be found climbing up or skiing down a slope.

Promotions and Outreach Coordinator: Monica Allaby

Monica is entering her third year  as a Geography student at McGill. She is passionate about building sustainable food systems and healthy, vibrant communities. Monica is deeply inspired by the incredible community of sustainability-minded folks at McGill and is thrilled to further her involvement with the Market this year as Promotions and Outreach Coordinator. In her spare time, Monica listens to soul, cares for her plants (with varying success), and reads cookbooks.

Want to chat? To contact members of the 2016-2017 McGill Farmers' Market coordinating team, please e-mail mcgillfarmersmarket@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We're Hiring!

The McGill Farmers’ Market is hiring!
Interested in helping to organize the 2016-2017 Farmers’ Market and CSA Program?

We're looking for passionate and committed members of the McGill community who want to help prepare next year's market! We are hiring for 4 coordinator positions: two (2) co-coordinators, one (1) promotions & outreach coordinator, and one (1) finance coordinator. All backgrounds and levels of involvement are welcome. Candidates must be available April 2016 - May 2017.

Please email your application to mcgillfarmersmarket {at} gmail {dot} com with subject line “Coordinator Call.” Include your CV, which position you are applying for, and a cover letter stating why you are the ideal candidate for this position. Stipends for all positions are $1250 for the year (May 2015 - May 2016). Deadline for applications is February 12th, 2016 by midnight. We will contact you for an interview. Coordinator training is in March 2016.

Farmers’ Market Co-Coordinator (2) – Stipend position
Responsibilities:
Must be available from April 2016 - late spring 2017.
Hold weekly to bi-weekly meetings with coordinator team, and meetings with stakeholders.
Oversee all necessary rentals, permits, strategies and grant applications.
Manage the coordination of the market, including space, vendors, and general market activities.
Manage the coordination of the CSA program, including space, vendors, and general procedures.
Provide support to the other coordinators.
Work with the finance coordinator to  continue MFM’s financial self-sustainment.
Work closely with the promotions coordinator to create an effective, comprehensive and environmentally-friendly promotional campaign.
Attend and assist CSA pick-up and farmers’ markets.
Provide support for general market activities.
Analyze and strategize about ways to improve market’s institutional structure, the CSA program, finances, and promotions.

Assets:
Bilingual (French & English)
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
Available during the summer of 2016 and into early summer 2017

Promotions and marketing coordinator (1) – Stipend position
Responsibilities:
1.     Must be available from April 2016- late spring 2017.
2.     Work with finance coordinator to create a comprehensive and environmentally friendly promotions & merchandise campaign.
3.     Advertisement for the fall market and the summer & fall CSA project. This includes:


Design tasks (posters, promotional packages, merchandise, etc)
Outreach to other student groups (first years, listservs, etc)
Outreach to wider community (businesses, potential vendors, faculty, etc)
4.     Maintain MFM social media outlets (website, fb, twitter, booking interviews)
5.     Attend and assist at CSA pick-up and farmers’ markets.
6.   Attend all coordinator team and stakeholders meetings.
7.     Provide support for general market activities, including market co-coordinator tasks.
8.    Responsible for volunteer coordination.  This includes:


Recruiting volunteers
Planning volunteer training
Creating and updating the volunteer schedule
Planning tasks for volunteers

Assets:
Experience working in promotions
Bilingual (French & English)
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Comfortable promoting MFM among the McGill and downtown Montreal community, including student groups and local businesses and organizations
Experience in web design and other promotional media is an asset
Ability to work independently and as part of a team



Finance coordinator (1) – Stipend position

Responsibilities:
Must be available from April 2016- late spring 2017.
Manage finances and bank account for the farmers’ market and CSA project. This includes accounting and recording financial transactions.
Finalize 2016 budget and draft 2016-2017 budget in conjunction with other co-coordinators to ensure a financially sustainable market.
Work with promotions coordinator to create a comprehensive and environmentally-friendly promotional campaign.
Attend and assist CSA pick-up and farmers’ markets.
Provide support for general market activities.
Attend all coordinator meetings and stakeholder meetings.

Assets:
Experience working in finance
Excellent accounting skills
Comfortable working with marketing principles
Interested in organizational structure and strategy
Ability to work independently and as part of a team



Please email your application to mcgillfarmersmarket [at] gmail [dot] com with subject line “Coordinator Call.” Include your CV, which position you are applying for, and a cover letter stating why you are the ideal candidate for this position. Deadline for applications is February 12th, 2016 by midnight. We will contact you for an interview. Coordinator training is March 2016.